Apparently, Barry Sanders didn't make it clear enough. At least not for the folks at ESPN.
On "Pardon the Interruption", a fledgling talk show within the vast ABC sports network, Sanders yet again forged his desire to remain retired.
"I can't really envision ever playing," Sanders said during the interview, "I'm 34. I'll be 35 (on July 16). I think it's pretty clear every year that I don't show up, that I'm not going to play.
"I don't see any scenario where I'm actually playing football."
Since retiring prior to the 1999 season, Sanders has answered what has become a proverbial question several times. Although he never held a formal press conference announcing his retirement, Sanders' willingness to leave the field infinitely has become blatantly apparent.
Despite that, the timing of Sanders' retirement, including his impending seizure of Hall of Famer Walter Payton's career rushing record, still draws potent interest.
Many analysts believe that Sanders would have cruised by Payton's record if he continued to play. Sanders left the game with 15,269 rushing yards, needing just 1,457 -- an average season total for Sanders -- to reach Payton's 16,726.
During the interview, Sanders did compliment former Dallas Cowboy and current Arizona Cardinals' running back Emmitt Smith on breaking the All time rushing record previously held by Walter Payton. However, he also remarked that the milestones he achieved were not targeted, yet attained as he continued to play out his career.
"I played for ten years. I just so happened to be in a position where I had enough yards to be close to that record." said Sanders. "That's not something you can plan. I certainly wasn't thinking when I was coming out of Oklahoma State that one day I'd be close to Walter Payton's rushing record.
"That's really the way I looked at it. It wasn't something that I had written over the headboard of my bed at home."